BY JANE OSAMOR
Hon. Jude Idimogu is an outgoing member of the Lagos State House of Assembly haven represented the people of Oshodi Constituency 11 in the Lagos House of Assembly from 2015-2023. In this interview with a cross section of journalist, this lawmaker who occupies the unique position of being of Igbo extraction representing a constituency that is prominently Yoruba in a Yoruba state shared his experience in the house, the challenges he encountered as well as what he will love to contribute if given another opportunity and award presentation by the LAHA.
GOOD AFTERNOON SIR, CAN WE MEET YOU
My name remains Sir Hon. Dr Jude Chukwuemeka Mobowale Idimogu, an Honorable Member of the Lagos State House of Assembly representing the good people of Oshodi /Isolo Constituency 11 Lagos State. And by His Grace, the Deputy Apex Leader APC Igbo Community Lagos State.
SIR, 8TH YEARS DOWN THE LINE, WHAT WILL YOU SAY HAS BEEN YOUR EXPERIENCE, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MEMORABLE THINGS THAT HAVE ACTUALLY EXPERIENCE AND THAT YOU WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER
I will miss my colleagues that is basically it but life is always about moving forward. I am an Igbo man and from my observation, the Yoruba’s; the West, they play better and are more politically aware than we the Igbos and it was a school, an opportunity to learn from my Yoruba brothers.
Coming to the House of Assembly for me was a great opportunity. About fifteen years ago, if anybody had told me I will be a member of this house, I would have said it was not possible but somehow, I will say with God, I found myself here. I worked towards it. I entered the system through the opposing party then which is still the opposing party now right? Which was the PDP but I saw what the leadership of the House was doing then, talking about our Honorable Speaker and other members, I appreciated the way they treated and managed all of us and with the progressiveness of the APC especially in Lagos state in particular, it is good to join the progressives and today I am enjoying it and I look forward to work for this great party and for the interest of not just Lagosians but for Nigerians as a whole.
For me it is a learning process. Like I said, some of my colleagues I will miss them but as they say, soldier go, soldier come but barracks will remain. It has given me a lot of opportunities and I know many people know me now as Jude more than before I came into the Lagos State House of Assembly. You guys, journalists have also been promoting me in the little I have done. I see where I am as a beginning of my political career; a successful political career. I see myself as a privilege Igbo man and I don’t want to play with that. And I am also asking for God’s direction to bring to bear what I have learnt here to my Igbo brothers and sisters and teach them how to also play the good politics that I have learnt through my Yoruba in-laws. Politics is a school which must of us have also learnt from. The Rt. Hon. Speaker Obasa, my senior colleagues and especially our national leader who is now the President-Elect to be President proper by My 29 when he is sworn in. So, there is a lot to learn. For the House of Assembly, my relationship with my colleagues has been key because I know that relationship with human beings is what makes the world go round.
We are not perfect for we learn every day. I am happy. I have no regrets. The only regret I will say I have is the language angle. I could not fully follow the tune of the language and that was a challenge. You know sometimes when we start issues before you know, your colleagues have moved into a typical language which is normal. You know, the same way the Igbos; when you gather, you start with English and before you know, you move to your language. It is one little challenge I have which I have even challenged myself to learn faster and understand better despite my wife is also a daughter of the soil. Language is key because politics is local and language is very important. I am also telling my little ones that look don’t miss it because it goes a long way to also unite and also strengthen the relationship you have with your environment.
WE HAVE SEEN SOME OF YOUR COLLEAGUES WHO CAME AND LEFT COME BACK AGAIN, IF YOU HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY OF COMING BACK AGAIN, WHAT IS THAT UNIQUE THING YOU WILL LIKE TO BRING ONBOARD
I would have loved to bring in some bills of my own. Those are some of the things that I look at. I was working on some but I was unable to bring it through. These are the challenges I would have loved to take on; these are xyz bills by so, so as personal bills. But you know the house collectively. In Lagos, collectively, the House knows we have so much laws already it just about implementing them so the House do not push so much for personal bills. Not that they are not important but our Speaker will tell us, except those ones that comes from the Executive; instead, let us go and look at the old laws that we can amend and bring on board except special laws that are too unique. That is why there have been no too much drive in that direction. We already have too much laws. It is not just about having laws for having laws sake; let us look at the ones that will be impactful on the state not only those that are not been enforced. Those are some of the opportunities I did not go into.
You know, one thing about the parliament and parliamentarians is that we get better when we are in the system. So sometimes, the learning process takes a while. Not only that, you need to have a very good rapport with your colleagues, not just the leadership of the House to get things done.
SIR, YOU WERE THE CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON WOMEN AFFAIRS AND WEALTH CREATION AND EMPLOREMENT, CAN YOU TAKE US INTO THE ACTIVITIES OF THE COMMITTEE WHILE YOU WERE CHAIRMAN
You know, you talk about wealth creation. As the House Committee Chairman, your job is mainly oversight of the executive on whatever the ministry or the agencies were doing. In my case, my ministry was wealth creation and employment. There is also an agency which is the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund and is somewhat independent. What they do at the agency is to find ways of giving assistance in the forms of soft loans to Lagosians that are qualified to get such loans. They also do trainings to Lagosians and also train the trainers. They liaise with some banks because the funds they have is not just from the government, the private sector also assist them in getting funds. That also give them a challenge from the knowledge I have because the banks will not give you anything for free; they want interest. The interest the banks want to take from them, the state cannot afford it.
Sometimes, those given the loans will not have the ability to pay. Another challenge I observe is the mind set of Lagosians. Some of them when they get the money from the agencies, they see it as their own entitlement so to pay back becomes a challenge. But it has really been helpful because some of the beneficiaries have also gained in terms of support and the establishments of micro businesses.
GIVE US A BACKGROUND OF HOW YOUR GROWING UP WAS?
It is a long story. My growing up was not too good. When I say it was not too good does not mean… it was not my making. At the age of eight, I have lost both parents and grew up as an orphan. You know when you grow up as an orphan at that young age, you keep on struggling. But it taught me one thing: building bridges with people, relationships, humility. For people to help you in life, you must render service. The culture has changed. It taught that if you want assistance from people who are not your blood relatives, you must render service to either him or the aged parents for them to even look at you and ho, you are adding value. The act of adding value. At that age, it taught me that for you to receive, you must give. Giving is not all about money: it might be service to an elderly person like fetching water.
When I was growing up in the village then, there are elderly women and men whose children are not around. You render those kinds of service without them asking you. Those things bring you closer to them. For their own interests, they start telling their children; this boy o, he has been helping me as a son. They will now pick interest in you and see how they can also lend a helping hand towards you. It was like I grew up by the community. But sometimes, I ran into trouble; like when Mr. A pays your school fees and you go to another person for the same school fees and they meet you there, they will say ha, Jude, you have come here for the same school fees. So that was the experience. But it helped me till today; relationship, relating with people, contacts, service. No matter how, you can give something.
At that age, I was one person who loved successful men and women. How do I get closer to you even if you are far from me? The best way was that I will look for something I can bring and give to you. With gift, you can open any door. I will just be arranged something and bring for you. At my little level, I will tell you what I did to get to one rich woman. I just loved her. She came from a very wealthy family then, married. I went to get palm fruits. You know in the East; it is everywhere and people see it as waste. I went to pick some; big ones and looked for newspaper and wrapped it and I went to the woman’s house and said, I brought a gift. That thing endeared me to her heart just like a family member though she is late now. From that moment, I learnt that giving is very key no matter how small.
I grew up at my maternal home. My home is Umueziala Akwueke, Ituboma Local Government but I grew up at Mbesie my maternal home that is why some people think I am from Mbesie. That is where I grew up and had my education till, I finished my secondary school. After secondary school I came to Lagos. I went to Yaba Tech. But it was first to Methodist Boys where I did my A Levels. At Yaba Tech I did Accounting and then to LASU for my MBA. I came to Lagos to leave with my elder sister who is in America now. After Secondary I just found my way here and became a Lagos boy.
HOW DO YOU UNWIND
I am a television person. I just relax and watch the tv for entertainment and information and when I have the time, I go and play football.
SIR, BY MAY 29, WE WILL BE ENTERING A NEW DISPENSATION, WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATION FROM THE NEW ADMINISTRATION
The Renewed Hope is here and by May 29, the renewed hope will take off. Who is that Renewed Hope: Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu and his team are the renewed hope. I believe in that philosophy that Nigeria will be good again. We are having a man who has been tested and trusted. A man who has worked for democracy and fought for it, He has the experience and he is well prepared. Unlike others who are not prepared, he knows what he is going there to do. And for us it is an opportunity to come and work for Nigerians and I am hopeful, believing that the Jakpaist will stop. Asiwaju will attract a lot of Nigerians who have run away to come back. I believe he knows what to do and besides, he is a man with a very strong political will to take decisions even if it might be difficult for Nigerians at first but they will have impact and in the long run, Nigerians will be better for it. So, Nigerians have not made a mistake for electing Asiwaju because the experience is there, the contacts are there and the resources are there and the vision is there. My prayers are that God will grant him good health and the wisdom. Good health and long life.